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Joy for Rainhill on final day

1st XI secure first silverware for 13 years

25th September 2020

Rainhill 188-9 (David Atkinson 70, Ben Edmundson 26, Andrew Davies 3-30) Rainford 140 (Mark Potter 47, Andrew Davies 14*, Liam O'Toole 4-26)

Rainhill won by 48 runs


Rainhill's 1st XI travelled the short distance to take on neighbours Rainford in the final of the LDCC Love Lane Group D competition.

The day got off to the perfect start as Rainhill won the toss and elected to bat. The pitch looked to be a good one, but history told us not many games are won batting second second at the Jubilee Recreation ground.

Rainhill made a confident start reaching twenty without loss after the first four overs. Rainford’s captain, John Dotters, decided to turn to spin early in the contest and instantly got his reward as David Snellgrove trapped Mark Viggars in front for 6.

Runs continued to come at a good rate for the visitors, but Rainford kept themselves in the contest as Andrew Davies claimed the big wicket of Sam Kershaw, bowling him for 14. Two overs later Davies had Ross Higham heading back to the make-shift changing rooms for just 4. He should have been out two balls earlier, but the fielder at deep mid wicket failed to take a catch.

Rainhill were now in trouble at 42-3. Brothers David Atkinson and James Clarke got together and continued to play positive cricket, pushing the score on to 80 before Clarke (23) fell to a superb catch from the wicket keeper, diving away one handed to take a low catch in-front of first slip. Captain Ben Edmundson came to the crease, to join Atkinson who at this stage was 22 not out and starting to find his stride. The pair added 56 for thefifth wicket before Edmundson departed to Andrew Pickavance, who claimed his second wicket having previously dismissed Clarke. The match was now in the balance at 136-5 with 17 overs remaining in the innings.

The next seven overs saw the score pushed along to 175-6. Jamie Harrison fell after playing an innings of 10, which included comfortably the biggest six of the afternoon. Rainhill then wobbled, as they have on far too many occasions this season: first Rob Mckeown fell to a smart catch down the leg side for a duck and then Dotters claimed the prize wicket of Atkinson for an excellent 70. The score was now 175-8 with 4 overs to go.

Rainford showed good skills to restrict the score to 188-9 at the end of the 45 overs, and they were more than happy with their efforts. In turn the visitors were just as happy to have the score on the board and felt confident the bowlers could defend the total.

The home side made a poor start to an already tough looking run chase as they were quickly reduced to 26-3. First left arm quick, Jamie Harrison, removed opener Ehren Agarwol for 4. Rainhill then got a stoke off luck, removing Rainford captain John Dotters as he feathered one down the leg side and was caught behind. Luck was in plentiful supply for Rainhill, and the visitor's second piece of good fortune saw Liam O’Toole claiming the big wicket of David Snellgrove with the first ball of his spell. Snellgrove was disappointed to chip a full toss to Jack Lowrie, who took a good running catch at mid on. The Rainhill players started to believe it could be their day!

The bowlers continued to pile the pressure on the home side as O’Toole firstly trapped William Shuttleworth lbw for just 3 before blowing Daniel Harrison for 7. Rainhill were now firmly in the driving seat and had one hand on the trophy as the scoreboard read 47-5 with the home side requiring another 142 for victory.

Mark Potter continued to keep the scoreboard ticking and began to drag his team back in to the contest, Mark Brook offered him some vital support and, although he was dismissed by Ben Edmundson for just 8 thanks to a smart catch from wicketkeeper Ross Higham, the pair added 48 for the sixth wicket which gave the home supporters some belief. With the fall of Brook's wicket, the scoreboard now read 95-6. Drinks were taken and, after the restart, Edmundson claimed his second wicket is as many balls as he bowled Andrew Pickavance for a golden duck. 95-7!

Rainhill were now the firm favourites to win, but Potter doggedly continued to keep his side in the contest. He helped move the score on to 129, giving the away spectators cause for frustration. Rainford, to their credit, refused to throw in the towel and the game was very definitely on! However, the re-introduction of O’Toole quickly changed that: he removed Mark Potter for 47, with Mark Viggars taking an terrific catch at mid wicket, meaning the home side were now eight wickets down and requiring a further 60 runs to win. O’Toole finished with match winning figures of 4 for 26.

Victory was in sight for Rainhill, but the home side were not going to go down without a fight. Another excellent catch in the outfield from Edmundson diving forward at mid off gave Harrison his third wicket as he removed Steven Cline for 5. Harrison took 3 for 25 from his 8 overs in an excellent personal performance. Rainhill now required just one more wicket for victory. Last man William Curran was soon caught behind from the spin of Clarke and Rainford where all out 140, 49 runs short of the required total.

The final wicket sparked scenes of joy amongst the Rainhill players and spectators alike, ending a 13 year wait for the first XI to win silverware. For all but one of the side, Paul Ford, this is the first time they have won a senior competition at the club. With such a young, talented and exciting side I’m sure it won’t be long before they are winning again...

Many thanks to Ben Edmundson for the report, and to Peter Mercer for the photograph.

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